SHKODRA, FULL DAY TRIP FROM TIRANA
Shkodra city is an important cultural and economical center of Albania. Shkodra is also known as the center of the Albanian Catholicism and a perfect proof of the fact that all different religions can adjoin in one country. The city was founded in the 4th century B.C. and for a long time had an important protecting role, it protected the trade routes on the rivers of Drin and Buna. It became the capital of Illyria in the 3d century B.C. Than it was conquered by the Romans and than was a part of the medieval Serbian principality till it was gained by the Turks in 1479. The main sight-seeing place in Shkoder is the castle of Rozafa, which was built in the 3d century B.C. Shkoder is truly the soul of Albania with its narrow street and ancient houses that are united with stone walls and modern buildings. It is the place worth visiting to feel the real Albania.
Meet at 8:30 AM at your hotel in Tirana. Head towards Shkodra and begin to explore its main attractions. Located at the entrance of the town, 3 km south of the city center, Rozafa Castle (fortress of Shkodra) is located on a rocky hill. It’s one of the biggest and most famous castles in Albania. The Rozafa castle has a fascinating history. Archaeological excavations have yielded finds extending from the early Bronze Age. Within its massive defensive walls stand the Church of St. Stephen, several Venetian administrative buildings, and some medieval rooms. On the border of Montenegro and Albania, you’ll find Shkodra Lake, a former ocean bay that was cut off from the Adriatic Sea when the sea levels dropped thousands of years ago. The lake is the largest in the Balkans at 41 km long and with a surface area between 370-530 km2. The bottom of the lake is well below sea level, making it what’s known as a crypto depression.
Shkodra Lake is also one of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having some 240 bird species inhabiting its shores, including some of the last pelicans in Europe. Thus, it’s very popular with bird watchers. See the Catholic Cathedral, one of the biggest in Balkans and dedicated to St. Stephen. After a reconstruction in 1991, the cathedral was inaugurated by Mother Theresa and two years later it was visited by Pope John Paul II. Inside the cathedral is a copy of the Shroud of Turin, bearing the negative image of a man, which some claim is Jesus of Nazareth. After we will visit the Venetian Masks Factory. Venice Art Showroom Exclusive production of baroque hand crafted luxury Venetian masks in paper mache and ceramic. Decorated with first choice materials like authentic plume feathers, gold and silver leaf, Swarovski crystals and pearls for Carnival, masquerade balls, masked events, theatre, weddings and home decoration. After visiting the Venetian Masks Factory, enjoy walking on the main boulevard in Shkodra.
Return to Tirana..